Page 19 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2014
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Summer 2014 European Energy Innovation 19


and optimized emerging conceptualized and studied technological advantages,
requirements in the business by EADS and Rolls-Royce on a notably, oil free operation with
aviation market with simplified new type of propulsion system: no air requirement, no bearing
architecture, reduced parts and Distributed Electrical Aerospace contact, less or no noise, less
maintenance costs, lower specific Propulsion (DEAP) to cut noise maintenance, operational
fuel consumption with associated and CO2 emission levels, as capabilities in extreme
benefits of low noise and well as dramatically reduce fuel. temperature environments and
emissions (open rotor). Similarly, Boeing’s Sugar Volt active control. The magneto-
concept, for example, would also plasma-dynamic (MPD) thruster is
One thing that strikes me is why use a hybrid-electric propulsion known as the most powerful form
are there no other propulsion system that combines fuel- of electromagnetism propulsion
forces commercially available? burning (turbine) engines, electric in converting electric power into
What are the perspectives for motors and electrochemical thrust.
a new force other than the storage batteries, a propulsion
one generated by combustion concept not totally unlike that Given the new concept of
phenomena? inside a Toyota Prius. The hybrid engines(other than conventional
system would allow airlines to propulsion) that needs to be
At a first glance, we are all bound choose to draw engine power considered, the technical
by the basic Lavoisier’s law from the turbines or the batteries, difference between current
where nothing gets lost, nothing whichever provides the most engines and the new type
gets found and everything gets benefit for the specific segment being envisioned could be so
transformed, therefore propulsion of the flight (taxiing, take-off, significant that one could not
force is not taken for granted. landing, cruises, and so forth). just replace standard engines
If there would be a new force, Studied by MIT (Massachusetts with new ones; instead a whole
it should make up our minds Institute of Technology), electrode new class of aeroplane would
to accept new concepts at ionic wind thruster uses ionized have to be designed around
acceptable costs and safety levels air to produce thrust more new engines. In the long run,
or new systems that are out of the efficiently (electrodynamic thrust) the aeronautical industry
conventional way for propulsion without any moving parts. would adopt a new concept of
and this would pave the way airframe and accept to adapt
forward to transform the so called Other promising propulsion and integrate avionic systems to
conservative aviation landscape methods are conceptualized the potential new concepts of
in which most airliners have by the aerospace industry propulsion. In fact, overall the
combustion engines, two wings, like nuclear/fusion/antimatter technology seems to be there
a cigar-shaped fuselage and a propulsion. These have significant and while test and exploratory
trio of vertical and horizontal energy efficiency advantages but research programs were
stabilizers at the tail. To achieve also present major drawbacks: successful, there were other
a radical step change in the High energy photons are gamma programs which were not. This
commercial aviation, one must rays (like X-Ray) which are harmful is evidenced by a number of
reconsider the powerplant as the to molecules in human cells. programs that were begun at a
conditional parameter at the heart The problem will be overcome large cost of time and funding
of the equation. by developing newer materials and then dropped when the
to put as much shielding on the programs went through one of its
Engines that are under powerplant and by designing many reorientations. Therefore,
investigations range from the the aircraft’s servicing equipment as lessons learnt, we should
extreme to the slightly more to thereby reduce radiation to determine which technologies
conventional. As examples, a negligible amount. Another are worth pursuing in light
the idea to complement core potential alternative propulsion of what would be the future
powerplant with electric power for the future is the development operational picture of commercial
source (hybrid propulsion) of electromagnetism engines aviation; those that might get us
for small aircraft has been that would result in major somewhere near our goals. l
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